Wednesday, April 29, 2009

2009 HBA Parade of Homes

Parade of Homes™

The original Parade of Homes™, where "Dream Homes Become Reality," is an annual tour of homes presented by the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Greater Austin. The HBA has presented the Parade of Homes™ in the greater Austin area for the last 56 years. Tours allow visitors to check out the latest in architecture design, interior decorating, pool design and landscape design. Remember, if it doesn't say "Parade of Homes™ presented by the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin" it's not the real thing.

2009 Tour Information

First ever HBA 5-Star
Parade of Homes™.

Don't miss this fantastic opportunity to tour 5-Star Green Homes by five award winning builders. The 2009 event will be an "urban" tour of homes located in the new Mueller development - the site of Austin's old Mueller Airport. Located just three miles from downtown Austin and the Texas State Capitol and two miles from The University of Texas at Austin, Mueller is perfectly positioned to become an energetic new hub for central Austin. Come have a look!

Preview Party for HBA and Real Estate Industry Members


Dates and Hours

  • May 23, 2009 - June 7, 2009
  • 10:00am - 8:00pm, Thursday through Tuesday (closed Wednesdays) 


  • Purchase at the gate
  • Ticket price: $15; $12 for seniors and kids 5-17; kids under 5 are free
  • Sorry, NO credit cards accepted
  • Tickets only valid for entry on day of purchase

Inclement Weather

Homes are open when weather permits. Call (512) 454-5588 to see if homes are open for tours during bad weather.

The Builders

  • Bill Taute Homes / website / (512) 441-0699
  • Cool River Custom Homes / website / (512) 294-5212
  • Durrett Interests LLC / website / (512) 472-3100
  • The Muskin Company / website / (512) 371-0037
  • Streetman Homes / website / (512) 473-3725

The Homes

To view artist renderings and descriptions for each home, click on the address below.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Construction Waste Management

Our waste management plan utilizes the services of Construction Waste Recyclers of Texas, and we try to recycle at least 80% of our construction waste. We accomplish this by educating our subcontractors and site cleaning crews about our program, with the help of Fred Thornhill, who owns the recycling and waste management company. We establish waste areas, recycled content areas, and have large barrels with trash bags on site, all labeled bilingually. By utilizing Optimum Value Engineering practices, we use less lumber, and therefore are able to create less waste in the framing stages. By separating the waste and recyclable materials, it is easier to determine how much waste is being created, as opposed to simply throwing all waste into a dumpster. The average 2000 square foot home typically produces approximately 8000 pounds of waste, so by recycling diligently, we are able to diver 6000-7000 pounds of trash from every home we build away from our landfills. While we still have issues with off site waste being brought onto the job site, the lack of a large dumpster has minimized the impact of neighborhood trash on our job sites.

What is recyclable and what is waste? We are able to recycle on site all brush, trees, and land clearing debris, lumber scraps, drywall, rock or brick waste, concrete and plaster spoils, tile cuts, wood flooring scraps, and composite shingles. The scraps and leftovers from all of these products are ground up on site and are available for immediate use on site. Lumber scraps create mulch which is used for soil erosion control, for walkways around the site to minimize the tracking of mud onto the slab, and to build up low spots on the site. Drywall is ground into dust that can be tilled into the soil on site similar to adding lime to the sub grade. All of the other hardscape spoils and the composite shingles are ground into a base type material that is used to stabilize driveway and sidewalk sub grades. In the event that we have no place or no more use for the recycled content on a particular site, we will work with other contractors to distribute the materials on other sites. Any materials that have no other place to go are delivered to a composting site. Fred and his crew recycle all aluminum, metal, cardboard, insulation, plastic, and vinyl at locations around town, and document the tonnage of what is ground, what is recycled off site, and what actually has to go to the landfill. Any leftover building materials that we can't use on other projects are recycled through Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, Goodwill, and other similar facilities. We typically leave at least a quart of every paint used on the home for the home owner to use for any touch up jobs, and store most paint in our off site warehouse facility for up to a year. After a year, we take the leftover paints to the City of Austin Hazardous Waste Facility.

As the City of Austin moves towards implementing a Zero Waste Initiative over the coming years, it will be incumbent on builders and remodelers to realize how much waste they create, and how they can divert as much waste as possible into something other than our landfills. It will also become the responsibility of home owners and investors to require their contractors to conform to these more stringent Construction Waste Management standards. After the initial education of subcontractors that are not use to this type of program, and re-tooling take off and engineering processes to eliminate waste before materials are delivered t the site, a good contractor will realize that a program like this makes sense both from and environmental and economical viewpoint.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Water Efficiency

When we talk about Water Efficiency, there are several areas of the home that are integral in addressing the issue. The installation of an On Demand/Tankless Natural Gas Water Heater is one of the easiest ways to conserve water. As described by their name, on demand / tankless water heaters have no storage tank for hot water. A heating element heats water only when there is a demand for hot water—i.e. when someone turns on a hot water faucet. Since these water heaters have no stand-by losses (heat loss out the walls of the storage tank), they have higher efficiency—typically 10% to 20% higher than storage-tank water heaters. Tankless models have additional advantages: they take up less space, they can be installed outside in Austin's climate (solving the venting problem) and they last longer because they are less susceptible to mineral scaling. Tankless models have a life-expectancy of 15—25 years, whereas storage models last only 5—15 years, depending in part on how they are maintained.

Another area that consumes a large amount of water is the irrigation of the landscaping. By installing an irrigation system with a time based controller, the irrigation system, will reduce water usage, protect landscape and hardscape investments, and achieve affordable, sustainable water management. Your system will place exactly the right amount of water on specific lawn and garden areas so that water is not wasted. We also install moisture-sensing devices that can automatically turn off your system when it rains. In our Parade Home, we are planning on installing an EvapoTranspiration or ET Smart Irrigation Controller that regulates the irrigation based on the weather. The controller is connected to a weather satellite and modifies when and how much water is applied to the lawn based on local weather data in conjunction with information about the landscaping materials. Over-watering is eliminated because each zone of your property is monitored independently according to your customized profile. Wind waste is also eliminated when the controller stops watering until high winds subside.

The inclusion of Low Flow/Dual Flush High Efficiency Toilets also offer significant water savings. Typical products use 1.6 gallons at the full flush and 0.8-0.9 gallons at the low flush. One manufacturer estimates that a typical family of four will save approximately 7,000 gallons of water per year with this toilet, compared with a standard 1.6 gallon-per-flush toilet.